This is a tough one. From 2009-2018, RHP David Robertson was one of the most consistent relievers in baseball. By the start of next season, he should be fully recovered from the elbow injury that kept him out for almost all of 2019 and 2020.
On the other hand, many pitchers just aren’t the same when they return from Tommy John surgery, especially players in their mid-to-late 30s (Robertson will be in his age-36 season next year). That’s an age at which many pitchers are already in decline, even when they aren’t coming back from major arm surgery.
I think Robertson’s reputation and past performance will be enough to earn him a major league contract, but it won’t be for much money. He’ll earn more next season from his Phillies buyout ($2 million) than he will on whatever contract he signs as a free agent.
My prediction: 1 year, $1 million
Left-hander Jose Alvarez has been a consistently good reliever throughout his six years in the big leagues. He’s never going to be an All-Star or a closer, but he’s the kind of guy who would improve almost every single team’s bullpen.
He’ll be 32 next season, so I wouldn’t expect a long term deal, but he’ll probably be able to get a two-year contract. Last year, he earned $2.95 million in arbitration, so I’d guess he’ll be able to earn slightly more than that as a free agent.
My prediction: 2 years, $7 million (with a $3 million team option for 2023)